The Hippo


Apr 24, 2019








Recycled Percussion. Courtesy photo.

 Recycled Percussion

When: Saturday, June 30, 7 p.m. 
Where: Veterans Park, 698 Elm St., Manchester 
Tickets: $32-$39 at
Recycled Percussion will also play at The Flying Monkey in Plymouth Saturday, July 7, at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $34.50 at
Chaos & Kindness airs the first two Fridays of every month on WMUR. All epsiodes on demand at

Hometown band
Recycled Percussion returns


 By Michael Witthaus
Since finishing third in Season 4 of America’s Got Talent, Recycled Percussion is known to many of its fans as a Las Vegas band. Their roots are in the Granite State, however, and the junk rockers return to New Hampshire frequently. A quick early summer run includes stops in Manchester (June 30) and Plymouth (July 7). Earlier in the month, RP played Littleton, Portsmouth and Claremont.
“We love to come back home and we have always kept New Hampshire first as a priority for us,” group founder Justin  Spencer said in a recent phone interview. “So we make sure we always come back every year, sometimes twice a year, to perform and give it our all.”
The downtown Manchester show will be filmed for the band’s WMUR-TV series, Chaos & Kindness. The charity-centric program frequently focuses on locals in need. “Michael’s Story,” an episode about efforts to lift the spirits of a Concord man with terminal cancer, was nominated for a New England Emmy in April. 
The show is moving beyond borders for its second season. Recently, two episodes were devoted to helping out in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, raising money to buy wheelchairs, and performing on the island.  
“We want to do really cool things and inspire people,” Spencer said. “What’s so unique about the TV show is that we do it 100 percent for free, we love to do it and it’s real ... we pride ourselves on that, so that aspect of it is very fulfilling.”
Recycled Percussion has performed thousands of shows on the Vegas strip, first at the MGM Grand in 2010, and later at the Tropicana and The Quad; currently, they’re the feature act at Planet Hollywood’s Saxe Theater. Playing over 500 times a year has led to many changes in their act, which fans will see when they come home. 
“It’s forced us to diversify the kind of performance that we have,” Spencer said. “We’ve added a lot of comedy to our show and it’s become really family-friendly for the tourists … the show is not even close to what it was when we started, and it’s really helped us to become better at what we do.  Obviously if you can survive 10 years in Las Vegas, you’re doing something right.”
The group’s energy seems limitless. Last December, they broke a world record by doing 50 shows in 12 days, one in each state. Though it may not end up in the Guinness book, their next move is no less impressive. After New England, they’re off to China for 113 shows. 
Spencer has no plans to slow down. 
“I’m only 40, I keep myself in great shape and I love to play,” he said. “You actually get that resurgence, the desire to play more. It’s that Tom Brady effect. ... You’re kind of like, ‘Yeah, I’ll play forever.’”
2020 will mark 25 years since he entered a talent show at Goffstown High School and launched Recycled Percussion.  Spencer was inspired by the classic rock he listened to as a kid, but aware of his limitations. 
“I’m a terrible singer, so I decided to make a band where the drummer is the front man,” he said. 
The early times were challenging. 
“For five or six years we were playing at elementary, middle and high schools around New Hampshire in exchange for free lunch or sometimes a couple hundred bucks here and there,” Spencer said. 
They were able to earn more after an agent for the band They Might Be Giants spotted them in 2001 and signed a touring deal. 
Later, national television exposure raised their profile even more. With that success came a platform, something Spencer seized with relish. 
“I didn’t have money growing up, and my family struggled; I was no stranger to food stamps,” he said. “That was embedded in my DNA early, to want to give back. We’ve been doing this long before the TV show. When I was in sixth grade I was buying toys for kids through fundraising efforts … so I’ve kind of always had that desire to help other people.”
Spencer’s charitable ambitions mirror his energy. 
“I’d like to turn Chaos & Kindness into a big brand,” he said. “Make kindness cool to youth and do it in a big way, in a global way. That’s my mindset over these next two years.” 

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